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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Advice from a woman at the top

Today, I went to a fantastic lunch event sponsored by The Commonwealth Institute of South Florida. Maureen Kempston Darkes, one of the highest ranking officers at General Motors shared her views on leadership and navigating in an international business environment.

Here are a few tidbits she shared:

  • Take risks. Even if they take you out of your comfort zone. As a lawyer, she took a risk going to work for GM. She planned to stay for 2 years. She's been there 32 years.

  • When encountering sexism, have the courage to stand up and demand respect.

  • If you make it to the top, show support for other women. Darkes has mandated that 25 percent of new hires in Latin America are women.

  • When someone throws a wall in front of you, gut it out. When you are going through hell, keep going.

  • Work/life balance is important. Darkes says for the last 20 years as she built her career, her work/life balance "was off a bit'' and she regrets it. Now, she says, "I put things on the calendar that are important to me.''


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